UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Would a new leader brighten Labour’s chances?

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miliband1.jpg   *** For full politics coverage click here *** 

 A Daily Telegraph poll coming on the heels of all the speculation about David Miliband’s leadership intentions suggests that even if Labour did ditch Gordon Brown, they would still be thrashed in the next general election.

It predicted that with Miliband at the helm, Labour would still only win 24 percent of the vote, against 47 percent for the Conservatives.

The only man, it said, who could make much difference is — Tony Blair.

Do you agree? Is Labour now so unpopular that it cannot win no matter who leads it?

Work for dole?

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purnell.jpgWork and Pensions Secretary James Purnell wants long-term job-seekers to work for their state benefits.

If they have been jobless for a year, they will have to do four weeks of community work with a government-backed private or public body. After two years, they will have to take a full-time job.

Sun’s man gets gaffe in early

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mackenzie.jpgFormer Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie has scored the first own goal of the Haltemprice & Howden by-election, just hours after saying he was a likely candidate for the Humberside seat.

In off-camera comments broadcast by BBC television he described Hull as “an absolute shocker, it’s beyond shock, actually.”

David Davis – what the papers say

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david.jpg Leader writers applauded the shock value of David Davis’ resignation but were divided over his motives and predicted the potentially shambolic by-election to come would damage the Conservative party.

With the LibDems already having said they will not field a candidate on July 10 and Labour still mulling the options, the papers raised the spectre of Davis campaigning alone against fringe parties like the Monster Raving Loonies and a motley crew of publicity-seekers.

Labour: Your time is up. And not just in Crewe

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crewe1.jpgIf the message on the streets up here in northern England is anything to go by, Labour will be sent packing at the next election.

Yes, it was just a by-election. Yes, Labour is suffering from severe mid-term blues. But the swing was a massive 17.6 percent and it wasn’t the Liberal Democrats who gained from Labour’s troubles, as is traditional in by-elections.

Brown and out?

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crewe.jpgAs much as stunned Labour MPs wander around like Corporal Jones telling each other not to panic after the dreadful result for them in Crewe, many of the newspapers believe Gordon Brown’s days are now numbered.

The Guardian, under the headline “Brown faces meltdown,” says he is facing the gravest crisis of his premiership in the run-up to the Autumn party conference. Like many other newspapers it says the decision to dress Labour activists in top hats and deride the Conservative candidate as a “toff” was a fundamental mistake, albeit one endorsed by Brown.

Brown’s Black Friday

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brown1.jpgLabour has lost at least 200 seats in the local elections in England and Wales — leaving it in its worst position since the days of Harold Wilson — and even before the results of the London mayoral contest are known, some political analysts are saying Gordon Brown will lose the next general election unless the economy improves.

But others say this was a vote against Labour rather than a vote for the Conservatives and that governments, especially those that have been in power for as long as Labour, always take a knock in local elections. Look at Tony Blair in 2004 just a year before he swept home again.

At a glance – election results

**Full coverage of the London mayor and local elections **

The election results for England and Wales at 8:00 p.m. with all 159 councils having officially declared.


Councillors   Councils   Party Won/lost Total Won/Lost Total Conservative +256 3154 +12 65 Labour -331 2368 -9 18 LibDem +34 1805 1 12 Plaid Cymru +33 207 -1 0 Other 5 893 0 0 NOC - - -3 64 Councils declared out of 159 total     159  

Source: BBC

The Great Clunking Fist needs to say it better

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brownportrait.jpgHearing Gordon Brown say he’d made mistakes yesterday almost made me jump. Could the Great Clunking Fist really be admitting he’d got something wrong?

I’ve been covering Brown for more than ten years — both at the Treasury and now at No 10. And in all the interviews, international trips and news conferences I have never heard him say sorry.

Should the 10p tax rate have been scrapped?

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darling1.jpgA possible Commons rebellion by Labour MPs next Monday over the scrapping of the 10p starting tax rate has been averted but the episode has further damaged the standing of Gordon Brown.

In 2007, in his last budget as Chancellor, Brown abolished the 10p rate as he reduced the standard income tax rate to 20 from 22p and reformed National Insurance thresholds. Many backbench government MPs felt that hitting some of the poorest sections of the working population in such a way was an affront to their basic Labour principles.

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